Sunday, July 10, 2016

Vietnam - HCM City’s plan for ’smart’ health system advancing

A project to create an intelligent health system for HCM City will be submitted to the People’s Committee next month, Le Thai Hy, head of the city Department of Information and Communication has said.

Speaking at the 2016 Vietnam ICT Outlook conference held by the HCM City Computer Association yesterday, he said details of the project would be published in the media to gather opinions from IT companies, health facilities and the public.

He sought policy assistance from the Government to carry out the project, the first of its kind in the country.

Dr Tang Chi Thuong, deputy head of the city Department of Health, said his department is working with DoIC to establish a common data centre for the health sector by next year.

A year later comprehensive IT infrastructure would be set up for the healthcare sector meeting the needs of all health facilities in the city, he said.

In recent years the department has been urging health facilities as well as managers of the healthcare sector to use IT to provide better services to patients, he said.

“But the IT application remains limited. IT infrastructure at health facilities only meets basic needs. Information safety still does not get sufficient attention.”

Software and databases used at health facilities are not identical, leading to difficulties in exchanging information with each other, according to the official.

A recently completed study of IT use at 92 hospitals, 24 preventive health centers and 319 other health centers in the city found a shortage of servers and computers at district-level facilities, he said.

Ten hospitals were yet to use hospital management software, and 92 per cent of health centers did not use software for management of diagnosis and treatment, he said.

Insufficient funds and human resources were major barriers to using IT, he said.

Of 92 hospitals surveyed, only 73 have specialist IT staff, he added.

Phi Anh Tuan, vice chairman of the HCM City Computer Association, suggested that the Department of Health should encourage health facilities to take advantage of cloud computing to overcome the resource shortage.

The facilities should change their mindset and lease infrastructure, software and services rather than buy them, he said.

The Government should have clearer regulations to enable this, he added.

Le Manh Ha, general secretary of the National Committee on IT Application, said every hospital should take the initiative to use IT to improve their efficiency.

The 2016 Vietnam ICT Outlook Conference also featured solutions developed by companies like Lac Viet Computing Corp, Microsoft, Panasonic and others.


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